Report on Business Magazine is featuring the 2022 winners of Canada’s Best Managed Companies, Deloitte’s awards program recognizing excellence in private Canadian-owned firms. Those winners had the option to purchase a Sponsor Content package highlighting their own achievements.
Building a strong corporate culture is a common goal for companies today, but it was less so when Nicola Wealth opened its doors nearly three decades ago.
Founder John Nicola was an industry trailblazer when he built the private wealth management firm on a team-based foundation with the goal of creating shared value for clients and employees.
Mr. Nicola started his namesake firm in 1994 to provide integrated wealth management services with a focus on comprehensive planning – everything from investment management to insurance, tax, business and estate planning – long before this holistic approach became popular in the wealth management sector.
The company further differentiated itself in the industry by establishing a quarterly profit-sharing program that enables all employees to participate in its success. The firm recently evolved this program by introducing an optional employee share purchase program.
“From the beginning, our company was guided by the principles of teamwork and sharing, which has become our foundational value known throughout the company as ‘Share the Pie,’” says Jamie Duncan, Nicola Wealth’s chief operating officer who has been with the company since its inception.
“We share our best knowledge and expertise with our clients; we work together to build a company that we can all be proud of; and we share the company’s success with our people and with our communities, both globally and locally, who need our help.”
Two factors that set Nicola Wealth apart: its planning-first approach and pension-style investment strategy that includes alternative assets like real estate and mortgages, private equity and private debt; and a bespoke client experience.
The company has grown from eight employees and $80-million in assets under management to about 400 employees and more than $11.5-billion in assets today.
Growth is a strategic objective for the independent firm with a priority focus on Ontario, both organically and through strategic acquisitions. The company now has multiple offices in the Greater Toronto Area. Nicola Wealth also continues to grow its B.C. operations, including offices in Vancouver, Kelowna and Richmond and plans for a new office in Victoria. Its goal is to become the largest non-bank private wealth counsel firm in Canada by 2025, with $25-billion in assets.
“Surpassing this target will come from executing our mission well, operating in alignment with our corporate values and ensuring that our culture successfully scales with our growth,” Ms. Duncan says.
The company’s focus on its five strategic pillars will help it get there including: a bespoke client experience; people and culture; corporate growth; investment product and performance; and operational excellence.
She says Nicola Wealth also understands that continuing to deliver a superior client experience through significant growth (it has a 99-per-cent client retention rate to date) requires an equal focus on the employee experience and the culture that supports it.
While culture is everyone’s responsibility, the company boasts a strong, experienced People and Culture team who design and deliver solutions that enable people to develop to their full potential while building a robust internal and external talent pipeline for future growth. The philanthropic heart of the company’s culture is the Nicola Gives Back Committee, which includes volunteers who support its philanthropic efforts and manage the allocation of corporate donations.
“Our culture and values act as our north star to guide our continued growth and change,” Ms. Duncan says. “We’re working together to build something meaningful that makes a difference to our clients, our people and our communities. We are committed to ensuring that everybody shares in the success. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of this journey?”
See full editorial coverage of Canada’s Best Managed Companies in Report on Business Magazine here.
Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio with Nicola Wealth. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.